Can Cats Eat Turkey?

Gobble, gobble!

can cats eat turkey

Have you ever sat down for a turkey dinner and caught your cat staring you down?

But can cats eat turkey?

Good news! They can, and many cats often do, according to Ashley Callihan, a veterinary nurse with DodoVet.

“Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that meat is a crucial part of their daily diet,” Callihan told The Dodo. “Turkey is a common protein found in cat foods.”

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How is turkey good for cats?

Not only is turkey a great source of protein, but it’s also full of the amino acid taurine, which is super important for your cat.

“Taurine helps keep the immune system, digestive tract, and eyes, heart, and reproductive system healthy,” Callihan said.

Risks of feeding your cat turkey

Cooked turkey may be good for your cat, but it can cause problems if it’s raw or undercooked.

“Consuming raw turkey presents us with the possibility of our cat getting salmonella or listeria,” Callihan said.

You should also avoid giving your cat deli turkey meat because it’s pretty salty.

“It usually contains higher levels of sodium, as well as other flavorings and preservatives that could cause our cats to feel pretty sick after eating it,” Callihan said.

And if you’re giving your cat cooked turkey as a treat, make sure it’s not taking up more than 10 percent of his diet.

“Though turkey is a great snack for cats, eating too much of anything can cause an upset stomach,” Callihan said. “Too much turkey can also cause pancreatitis, and nobody wants that.”

How can cats eat turkey safely?

Your cat can safely eat turkey if you’re giving him white meat that’s been fully cooked.

“We [want] to give our cats only the white meat of a cooked turkey, since it has the most nutritional value,” Callihan said. “It’s best to stay away from the dark meat and skin.”

And always make sure you’re giving him unseasoned meat, because seasonings like garlic are poisonous to cats.

Plus, make sure you’re not only giving your cat turkey.

“Keep in mind that cats cannot be nutritionally sound by eating just turkey, and they need plenty of other vitamins and minerals to have a healthy and balanced diet,” Callihan said.

So if you’re giving your cat some turkey table scraps as a small snack, just make sure it’s fully cooked and unseasoned, and he should be just fine.

Want access to a vet 24/7? With DodoVet, you can connect via video chat, phone or text with an empathetic veterinary expert who can help you be the best pet parent you can be. Say goodbye to Dr. Google and have all your pet parent questions answered anytime, anywhere. Learn more here.

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